The Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, on Monday said findings had shown that non-clarity on procedure and amount to pay as tax and unfriendly tax administrators were killing small and medium enterprises across the country.
Osinbajo, who also outlined other factors that had led to high mortality rate of SMEs in Nigeria, however, noted that the Federal Government was working hard to address the concerns.
In his address at the 1st Abuja SME Conference and Exhibition organised by the Abuja Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Vice President further stated that the problem of taxation on the growth of SMEs was exacerbated by a lack of reliable data for statistical analyses.
The theme of the conference was ‘Solution Strategies for Resolving Tax, Regulatory, Packaging and Logistic Challenges Facing Nigerian SMEs’.
“The mortality rates of SMEs are very high, and among the factors responsible for this are tax related issues,” Osinbajo, who was represented by the Minister of State for Industry, Trade and Investment, Mariam Katagum, stated.
He added, “Some of the specific challenges related to taxation are multiple taxation at the national and sub-national levels, non-clarity on the procedure and amount to pay and non-friendly tax administrators.”
He, however, noted that it was on the above premise that the government had, over the last two years, through the Finance Act 2019 and 2020, amended various tax and fiscal legislations to align the Nigerian business environment with global standards.
“One of such amendments is the categorisation of companies into small, medium, and large companies, based on annual gross turnover as seen in the Finance Act 2019,” the Vice President stated.
He said one of the strategic objectives of the Act was to also support small businesses in line with the ease of doing business reforms.
In his remarks, the President, ACCI, Al-Mujtaba Abubakar, told participants at the conference that there was no shortage of analysis and reviews on problems facing SMEs.
“What is missing is the creation and implementation of solutions by stakeholders,” he stated.
Abubakar added, “We are here, therefore, not for another talk-shop. Our goal for this conference is to match problems with solutions alongside developing an implementation plan.”
About 41 million micros, small and medium enterprises account for about 76 per cent of the Nigeria’s labour force, adding about 50 per cent to the country’s Gross Domestic Product.